To stay competitive in this job market you need to constantly try and improve your skills and knowledgebase. You need to go outside of what you already know about and venture into new areas, new topics, and new sources of information. One of my great challenges as an employer is to keep my team well rounded and educated. Too many folks today think learning stops at graduation. This does not make for a well-rounded employee. And an employer will never succeed if it doesn't continually re-invent themselves.
At my company we actually require employees to read non-fiction books and attend classes. In fact we have a program in place where you have to read 3 books and attend one class every quarter. If you do, you get a bonus. If you don’t, we have a chat. Sound harsh? Maybe so. But I only want to put the best possible talent out there to our clients. I also want employees to constantly grow and improve themselves in all areas of their lives.
If someone that works here eventually outgrows us then I have succeeded as being his or her manager. I haven’t held them back. We had a client in our office the other day. He was a network engineer just getting started with this company. He was lamenting the fact that his boss doesn’t let him take IT classes for products he was required to support. He said his skills weren’t improving and was looking for work. His fear was he wouldn’t be competitive over time. Not a good scenario for any party. When he leaves, and he will leave, the employer will then have to spend more money to re-hire for the position and go through another transition.